Sunday, May 20, 2018

Visiting Oahu--Wahiawa Botanical Garden, Tropical at 1000'

Heliconia flowers

In the center of the island of Oahu is the Wahiawa Botanical Garden. Part of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens system, it is at about 1000' above sea level and contains tropical plants that like a lot of rain at cooler temperatures.  Conveniently located half way between Honolulu and the beaches of Oahu's North Shore, it features heliconias, figs, and economically important tropical plants such as coffee, chicle (source of chewing gum) and cinnamon, as well as spectacular ornamentals.

fig tree
Under all those vines and ferns is a big fig tree.
I had a grand time wandering, despite a drizzle that continually threatened to turn into steady rain.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden scene

The paths and vistas were enticing

Wahiawa Botanical Garden path

And some of the plants were simply amazing.
Can you think of other plants with that shade of flower?

jade vine Strongylodon macrobotrys
Jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys
That is the jade vine Strongylodon macrobotrys (pea family Fabaceae), an easy name to remember if they are flowering. Wahiawa had them growing along the whole fence at the back of the parking lot: wow!

jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys

Not far beyond the jade vines, a scarlet jade vine had climbed all over a big tree. 
scarlet jade vine Mucuna bennettii
scarlet jade vine Mucuna bennettii
The scarlet jade vine is clearly similar to jade vine. It's in the same family, different genus, Mucuna bennettii, from New Guinea not the Philippines. But it seems a shame that such a spectacular plant has to be the scarlet jade vine--scarlet jade? If the namers had found it first, maybe it would be the scarlet vine and the other plant the jade scarlet vine. Timing is everything…
scarlet jade vine Mucuna bennettii
scarlet jade vine Mucuna bennettii
Then I saw this
the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis
the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis in flower
This little tree is the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis, a plant I do not remember seeing before. It is the only member of its genus, Amherstia, in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is named after Lady Sarah Amherst, a prominent plant collector (read more link)  

pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis
Flowers and leaves of the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis 
It seems like all the stages of the pride of Burma are dramatic, the flowers (above), the fruit (below)

the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis
the pride of Burma seed pod, nearly on the ground
and even the new leaves, coming in looking like a red orange cluster of fruit (below)

the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis
the pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis, new leaves
It is certainly well named, the pride of Burma!

Of course there's more in Wahiawa Botanical Garden, the plants well-labeled with additional informational signs, about figs for example.

Definitely worth exploring!

Comments and corrections welcome.

 Hachadourian, M. Jade of the South Pacific. Plant Talk, New York Botanical Garden link Accessed 5/19/18. 

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist

1 comment:

  1. Your posts are very informative. It is interesting to see pictures of plants from different areas in your blog. Some of them are relatives of plants known to me and some are introduced exotic in my place whose name I like to know. Expecting more cool posts.